Collaboration is reinventing sponsorships

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 10 October 2016 11:00 AM CAT

According to Openfield in their document published on Sponsorship Trends, ‘2015 proved that responsibility, transparency, and purpose are all expectations for the modern company. In 2016, expect brands to grow even more creative, collaborative and inclusive as their corporate responsibility initiatives come of age’.


Today’s brands are clamouring for new opportunities to engage customers and consumers in meaningful ways. It’s the ‘meaningful ways’ part that interests me.

I can’t help but wonder what the discussion in the CSI/sponsorship meeting sounds like? Today so much is about purpose but in fairness to brands, they still need ‘bang for their buck’.

So how does collaboration play a role? In the world of collaboration and the Collaborative Era, the buzzword is community. We think in terms of engaging ecosystems of communities in just about everything we do, whether it’s innovation, ideation, brand activation or sponsorships.

As brands pursue their purpose while aligning values, they should be exploring broad shared-value concepts. So for example, if sustainable farming products are the end result of what you, as the food brand, desires to have on your shelves, that could translate into an ecosystem engagement and the ‘farm to fork’ road could be paved with many collaborators. Hey, I’m not saying that each sponsorship needs to build the entire value chain. After all, business is primarily for the purpose of business but think about the potential collaborative value creation.

What if supermarket A wished to train up some sustainable farmers but the project was large in itself and the supermarket  felt that it’s contribution was sufficient. Imagine then that it found a collaboration partner to training in packaging, and together they found a collaboration partner to support logistics. Okay - you get the picture.

Just as I keep harping on that the siloed organisation needs to change, I believe that sponsorships have huge scope for interesting and impactful collaboration, both in the communities they support as well as, in the communities in which they operate.

Janice Scheckter is the co-founder of Indigo New Media. We build collaborative digital businesses that constantly connect partners that can create shared value.


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